ALLEN — On a day when Hebron’s football team had one of its biggest offensive outbursts of the season, it was the Hawk defense that put the finishing touches on a 57-35 area-round playoff win over Richardson Pearce Friday at Eagle Stadium.
Diego Johnson and William White scored defensive touchdowns in a four-play span, part of a 19-0 Hebron explosion over 1:29 of game time midway through the fourth quarter to break open what had been just a 38-35 advantage.
Hebron quarterback Carson Harris started the run with a 63-yard touchdown dash — his fourth rushing score of the day and sixth total touchdown for the Hawks — to put Hebron in front, 44-35, following a missed extra point.
On Pearce’s first play on the ensuing possession, Johnson intercepted Pearce quarterback Bo Brewer and returned it 55 yards to the house.
Three plays later, William White was sacking Brewer near the goal-line, jarring the ball loose and falling on it himself to achieve the final score and send Hebron to the third round of the playoffs for the third time in program history.
Hebron awaits the winner of Saturday’s area-round tilt in Abilene between Midland Lee and Haltom (results not available as of press time) in the third round.
“[Pearce is a] very explosive offense,” said Brian Brazil, Hebron head coach. “As you saw, they made some big-time plays and got behind us in the secondary and there was no quitting in those guys. We knew it would be a dogfight, and they’re a team that had been getting some turnovers and defensive scores when you look at their past few games. For us to get those, that was huge and gave us the separation we needed.”
Harris and the Hebron offense rolling from the start didn’t hurt, either.
The junior signal-caller darted 45 yards on the Hawks’ opening possession to get Hebron on the board.
He would also throw touchdown passes of 4 and 25 yards to Oklahoma commit and senior wide receiver Trejan Bridges, and chipped in additional touchdown runs of 18, 8 and 63 yards.
For the day, Harris posted 208 yards on 18 carries while completing 11-of-15 passes for 171 yards.
Bridges finished with five receptions for 101 yards and Jaylon Lott rushed for 154 yards on 20 carries for a Hebron offense that amassed 574 yards of offense for the game.
“Carson is a competitor,” Brazil said. “When its fourth-and-one, I say, ‘Hey, we’re going to get it.’ He’s just one of those guys that will do the things we need. He’s a tough kid and his team believes in him. He could definitely get the game ball, but we had some many guys that played well and we’re excited about the fact that we won this game.”
Prior to Pearce’s turnovers for Hebron defensive touchdowns, the Mustangs had been rolling.
On consecutive offensive plays from scrimmage, Brewer threw touchdowns passes of 75 yards to Pablo Velazquez and 67 yards to Ford Woods sandwiched around a Grant Paulette 35-yard field goal for the Hawks.
“I thought a lot of the big plays were the fourth-down conversions we made,” Brazill said. “And then in the fourth quarter there, I thought it was going to be fourth-and-two and we were going to go for it, but I saw it was fourth-and-four and we kicked instead. That was a huge field goal by Grant to get us up by two scores and you love to have the buffer.”
The Hawks will celebrate this one this weekend before gearing up for their future third-round opponent.
“I got a little drive going out to Abilene tomorrow, but I’m very happy I’m working tomorrow,” Brazil said. “We’ll go do a little scouting and I’m excited that we’re still playing football. We have a lot to be thankful for.”